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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Singing to God

I get it.  I know how you feel.  Worship online is just not the same as being in a congregation full of people singing praises to God with all their hearts.  Yet, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that's what many need to do in order to be safe and to keep others safe as well.  So, we sit on our couches and look at the computer screens and we watch church.

One of the hardest parts of online worship is the singing.  When you are at church with a group of people, the singing just feels more natural. Your voice blends with the chorus of everyone else.  Together, you are a congregation praising God and it doesn't matter so much how your individual voice sounds.  Unfortunately, when you are staring at a computer screen in your home for online worship, it just feels flat and awkward to sing.  You feel alone and exposed singing all by yourself--even if your family is in the room with you.  That's not easy for most people.

It's ok to feel a little awkward, but I encourage you to sing anyway.

Here's the thing.  You aren't singing alone.  Even if you are not physically present with other people, you are still worshipping with them.  Whether the other people are on the stage at your church leading worship or in the sanctuary congregation singing or even sitting on their own couch in their own home, you are still singing with them.  The act of worship binds our spirits together--even if we aren't in the same location.  This might seem awkward at first, but mainly because we aren't used to it.  

One of the sweetest memories from my early childhood was listening to my Grandma sing and hum church hymns as she cleaned or cooked in the kitchen.  Her voice wasn't exceptional and she wasn't singing for anyone else.  The hymns simply brought joy to her heart as she worked.  She didn't mind singing all by herself.  Why should I?

Many people enjoy singing in the shower or in their car while they are alone.  It's a great stress reliever.  However, when we sing as we worship God, we are not alone.  We are singing along with our brothers and sisters in Christ wherever they are.

The idea that our spirits are united through worship--even if we are not physically present together--has always been the belief of the Christian Church.  For example, when we recite the Apostles' Creed, we affirm, "I believe in... the communion of saints..."  The communion of saints is the fellowship of all Christian believers--both those who are still living in this world and those who have gone on to live with Christ in eternity.  

Hebrews 12:1 famously says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles."  That "great cloud of witnesses" is the gathered saints who have gone before us.  As we worship, they are gathered with us.  

I get it.  It still feels awkward to be in your living room by yourself singing to a computer screen in online worship.  But if we try, perhaps we can use our imagination to recognize a great spiritual truth.  You are not singing alone.  You are singing along with everyone else who is worshipping Jesus--regardless of where they are.  Furthermore, you are also singing with the saints in glory standing around the throne of God, lifting up their voices with the angels to the One who made us all.  

You are not singing to an image on a screen or even a minister on a stage.  You are singing to the One who died on a cross and rose from the grave to save you.  Your voice--yes even your voice--makes Him smile.  He loves the beautiful sound of your voice as you worship Him from a sincere heart in song!

So don't hold back.  Don't be ashamed.  Sing like no one is watching.  Sing with all your heart!  If you can sing in the shower or in your car, you can sing your heart out for the One who gave you a voice.  Sing (and even dance) like David as he unashamedly brought the Ark into Jerusalem, for you are singing to the only One who is worthy of our worship and praise.

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